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Politicsby Fern Shen6:43 pmDec 20, 20170

Moore leaves Liquor Board to become deputy city solicitor

Comings and goings on the Liquor Board: Dana Moore out and Elizabeth Hafey (hoping to get) in

Above: Liquor Commissioner Dana Moore with Chairman Albert Matricciani and Commissioner Aaron Greenfield. (Mark Reutter)

In a significant personnel change that took place quietly last month, attorney Dana P. Moore left the Baltimore Liquor Board to become deputy city solicitor.

“I loved the Liquor Board and the communities that came before us,” Moore said today. “But the chance to work with [City Solicitor] Andre Davis and his team was too good to pass up.”

Moore said she resigned from her position as liquor commissioner on November 27 and began her work in the city Law Department on the same day.

Moore’s service on the three-member Board of Liquor License Commissioners spanned a period of turbulence for the long troubled agency.

Appointed by Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley in 2014, Moore served during the chairmanship of the other O’Malley appointee, retired judge Thomas Ward.

Ward and Moore at times challenged liquor interests, giving the small agency an often out-sized place in the news cycle. But both were replaced when Republican Governor Larry Hogan took office in 2015 and named two new commissioners.

But in another twist, Hogan’s appointees were not confirmed by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly. The lawmakers further shifted  the power of Liquor Board appointments from the governor to Baltimore’s mayor.

Whereupon Moore returned to the board, joined by two other city appointees: Chairman Albert Matricciani Jr. and Aaron Greenfield.

During both of her stints on the panel, Moore gained a reputation for taking neighborhood concerns into consideration as allegations of nuisance bars and “zombie” licenses came before the panel at its weekly meetings.

“Dana was a tremendous asset,” Matricciani said, at the board’s December 7 meeting. “She’s very much attuned to the needs of the community and very much concerned that the board should follow the alcoholic beverage laws and its own rules and regulations. So we thank her.”

Another “former” back on board?

Who will replace Moore on the board is unclear. Board alternate Harvey Jones has been sitting in Moore’s place as the third member at the weekly hearings.

Asked for comment on the vacancy, a spokesperson for Mayor Catherine Pugh has not yet responded. Matricciani and the Liquor Board staff also have not returned requests for comment.

One of the names being floated is Miles & Stockbridge attorney Elizabeth A. Hafey, one of Hogan’s short-lived appointees to the board.

Asked today if she had been informed of an impending appointment, Hafey said, “I haven’t heard for sure, but I would love to do it.”

Baltimore Liquor Commissioner Douglas Trotter defends the Liquor Board recently at a Senate committee hearing. (Fern Shen)

Elizabeth Hafey (at table second from right) testifying with fellow commissioners in Annapolis last year. (Fern Shen)

For her part, Moore said that Hafey “would be terrific” on the board, while at the same time stressing that she has no formal role in picking her successor.

Moore said that whoever takes on the job should be willing to go out in the community and to pay attention to liquor issue watchdogs like Community Law Center attorney Becky Witt.

“Becky was quick to point out problems and it made us a better board,” Moore said. “Whoever comes in [to fill the vacancy] should be willing to listen to her.”

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